Wendy’s faces a class action that alleges the fast food chain’s practice of operating only drive-thru windows during “late-night” hours excludes blind and visually impaired customers from “full and equal access” to the restaurant chain’s services.
Wendy’s faces a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the fast food chain’s practice of operating only drive-thru windows during “late-night” hours excludes blind and visually impaired customers from “full and equal access” to the restaurant chain’s services.
Filed against Wendy’s International, LLC in California, the lawsuit explains that “[m]any thousands” of Wendy’s restaurants continue serving food and drinks out of their drive-thru windows after the restaurants’ lobbies are closed at night. The case claims, however, that Wendy’s drive-thrus are inaccessible to visually impaired customers who cannot operate motor vehicles, as the restaurants prohibit pedestrians from ordering at the drive-thru.
“Because the blind are unable to drive or walk up to the drive-thru window, and because Wendy’s interiors are closed during late-night operating times, the blind are totally barred from independently using or enjoying the goods and services provided by Wendy’s late-night drive-thru restaurants,” the complaint states.
The case maintains that the defendant has no policy in place for how to assist and serve visually impaired customers when the interiors of its restaurants are closed to the public while drive-thru windows are in operation. While sighted Wendy’s customers may independently browse and order from a restaurant’s menu “without the assistance of others,” customers with visual impairments must “hope for a companion with a car or paid taxi services to assist them in selecting and purchasing Wendy’s food,” the suit says.
The lawsuit charges that although there are “a variety of modest accommodations” that Wendy’s could implement at its thousands of nationwide restaurants, the defendant has apparently refused to do so.
The case echoes allegations in a similar lawsuit filed against Taco Bell this month over potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).